Archive for October, 2011
Preservation Maryland is part of a partnership along with Baltimore Heritage, the Greater Baltimore History Alliance, the Maryland Association of History Museums, Maryland Historical Society, the Maryland Historical Trust, and the UMBC Orser Center working together to present Bmore Historic.
Bmore Historic is a participant-led unconference on public history, historic preservation and community development in the Baltimore region and across the state of Maryland. It is an opportunity to connect with local historians, humanities scholars, preservation advocates, museum professionals, archivists, and anyone interested in exploring the vital intersections between people, places and the past in Baltimore and Maryland.
Registration is now open and the event will take place on Friday, December 2 from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The event will take place at the Maryland Historical Society at 201 West Monument Street in Baltimore. Come and be a part of this unique discussion where you set the agenda. Registration is on a first come, first served basis, so be sure to register soon! You can also follow Bmore Historic on Twitter at @bmorehistoric.
The location and use of schools can have a profound effect on the communities they serve. Historic schools are often sited in the heart of their communities but are threatened as new schools are built away from populations and amenities. The National Trust for Historic Preservation launched a program in May of 2008 to encourage the retention and development of community-centered schools. You can read more about the project, entitled Helping Johnny Walk to School, and download a copy of the report that came out of it on the Trust’s website. Their website also features a host of historic school related resources.
Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency released voluntary school siting guidelines to help decision-makers select safe and healthy locations for schools. During last year’s comment period, many organizations and agencies weighed in on the proposed guidelines. Preservation organizations, including Preservation Maryland, expressed the role historic schools and the preservation community could play to help reach the EPA’s goals. The final version of these guidelines can be found on the EPA’s website.
In conjunction with the release of this information, the Council for Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI), the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offered a series of educational webinars on the subject of school siting. Two of the webinars are available to view online.
- Location, Location, Location: New Guidance for Locating Schools in a Healthy, Sustainable Way
- State Strategies for School Siting; Locating Schools for Better Health, Environmental, and Fiscal Outcomes
The Trust will be conducting a live chat on school siting and community-centered schools this upcoming Tuesday, November 1 at 2:00 PM. The chat will share model policies for achieving healthier students and communities, and recommended actions states can take to encourage preservation of older and historic schools. For questions on the program contact Renee Kuhlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is an important issue for communities everywhere and one where preservation can play a pivotal role. I hope you find the links above handy to help learn more about it.
Below is a round-up of news articles on preservation and heritage issues in Maryland and beyond.
Port Deposit council modifies Freeman Hall grant – Baltimore Sun 10-05-2011
Proposed rules threaten fabric of river life in Port Deposit – Baltimore Sun 10-01-2011
Archaeologists find So. Md. ‘Holy Grail’ – Southern Maryland News Online 10-05-2011
40 years after collapse, Catoctin Aqueduct restored – Baltimore Sun 10-06-2011
Barns are stars of Western Maryland driving tour – Baltimore Sun 10-14-2011
Christ Episcopal in Columbia to celebrate 200-year anniversary – Baltimore Sun 10-13-2011
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
Centuries-old West Laurel home gets new purpose, repairs – The Gazette 10-27-2011
Princess Anne hopes to improve downtown – Delmarva Now 10-23-2011
Theater seeks city money for $25,000 improvement project – The Herald-Mail 10-11-2011
If you have a news article on a preservation-related issue you wish to add to our monthly news round-up, please send the link to me at email@example.com.
Along with more than 2,000 people from across the country, I attended the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Conference held last week in Buffalo, New York. Like most, I was duly impressed with the magnificence of City Hall, the grandeur of Millionaires’ Row and the beauty of the natural landscape prominently featured in the city’s Olmsted parks. Buffalo boosts a wealth of historic buildings, some of which were designed by renowned American architects, H.H. Richardson, Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. However, one of my most memorial experiences was the tour “Sanctuary to Speakeasy”: A Model for African American Heritage Tourism.
The tour was billed as an experiential excursion that would provide a model for how to integrate heritage tourism and cultural arts advancement to generate income for the preservation of African American historic sites and the revitalization of underserved communities. It sounded interesting to me, as I usually seek to explore the road less traveled when attending conferences. So I boarded a bus heading to Buffalo’s Michigan Avenue Heritage Corridor, a world away from the splendor of downtown. The tour would feature the Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Nash House Museum and the Colored Musicians Club.
I found a seat and introduced myself to Zola of North Carolina, originally from Buffalo. As we rode to Buffalo’s eastside, our tour guide gave us an overview of the African American experience in the region and the history of the Michigan Avenue area. She also cautioned us that once we left the bus we should be prepared to be transported to another place and time. She was not very specific about where and when so I casually brushed off her forewarning. I shouldn’t have.
From the moment we stepped off the bus, we were immersed in the sights and
sounds of 19th century Buffalo. Our first stop was the Michigan Street Baptist Church where we attended a pre-Civil War abolitionists’ meeting in the church’s basement. The pastor spoke about the evils of slavery, the success the church in assisting those escaping slavery, and the common person’s contribution to their freedom. The actors’ costumes, diction and mannerisms conveyed a distant and unfamiliar era.
Just as we became engrossed in the words of the pastor, there was a startling knock on the basement door. So alarming was the banging that I along with my fellow parishioners jumped in our seats. Immediately thereafter, our small space was invaded by a lone bounty hunter who was looking for an escaped slave. He berated all in attendance, ransacked the general meeting area, and threatened with physical harm any found responsible for harboring the fugitive he was stalking. All the while women cried and prayed, and children (and adults) cowered. He then left us shocked and silent until the pastor reassured us that we should continue to be brave but cautious in our quest to help our brethren achieve the freedom accorded to all. Our meeting was
adjourned and the stunned participants were ushered to the back of the church to see where slaves were hidden as a part of the Underground Railroad movement. This was one experience I will NEVER forget.
The Nash House Museum, home of Rev. J. Edward Nash, and the Colored Musicians Club both highlighted the civil rights history of Buffalo. Rev. Nash was an integral proponent of equality for all and the Colored Musicians Club rose out of the segregated statues of everyday life that prohibited African American musicians from being members of the established Musician’s Union.
The Nash House is well interpreted and knowledgeable docents provided a top notch learning experience. A brief history, followed by a jazz concert featuring swing dancers at the Colored Musicians Club was a pleasant way to round out the afternoon.
If you visit Buffalo, please take the time to visit this historic area of the city. You will not be disappointed. Kudos to the tour organizers and all involved in Buffalo’s Michigan Avenue Heritage Corridor.
Old buildings tend to speak a language all their own. For those who love them there’s an undeniable sense that they are unique among us and require an going the extra mile to preserve them. One such building is the Wye Miller’s House in Wye Mills. Built in the late 1750’s by Edward Lloyd III, and later owned by William Hemsley, the Great Tobacco Merchant, it strikes a determined pose on the hill where it was originally built. Listed on the National Register in 2010, this double pile brick dwelling speaks volumes about our early colonial history in Talbot County and on the Eastern Shore. Quite possibly the last remaining miller’s house that exists along with its original mill in Maryland it remains uninhabited after forty long years.
It all started with a few words at a meeting in Centreville about two years ago; “There’s this house…” The next thing I knew I was climbing through the first floor window and within moments was convinced of the value of its preservation. I’ve been through that window many times since along with a host of others who saw the beauty, meaning and craftsmanship that exist there. It’s a foregone conclusion that the house is in a compromised condition with the biggest concern being whether the building could stand long enough for us to intervene. After many years of neglect, some critical structural problems exist that need to be addressed immediately. The good news is that despite the problems it survived the hurricane, the tropical storm, the relentless rain and the earthquake! They just don’t build them like they used to.
It has been a road of twists and turns involving multiple partners that give this project legs. The essential ingredients were there; the owner was willing and so were potential funders. When Historic Easton was approached they agreed to receive the house and commit their energy and resources as an organization to saving it. The owner’s family had a long history with the property and desired to see the building saved. Their generosity and willingness to take measurable steps towards making this work has been incredible.
Located within the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area, the Maryland Heritage Area Authority last week agreed to fund the acquisition of this property. The funders who will help complete the needed match and thereby the initial stabilization includes: private donors, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Maryland. In addition, the Maryland Historical Trust has agreed to take a perpetual easement on the site, offering the kind of protection that will far supersede all of us for years to come.
Determining the future use and developing a preservation plan over the next two years will be coming up next. I’m excited to see what happens and in my heart I know that we have every chance of seeing this project come to fruition. After all, some things are just meant to be.
- Elizabeth Beckley
Since 1985, Preservation Maryland has presented awards to individuals and organizations recognizing their exemplary contributions to preserving Maryland’s rich and diverse heritage. We are excited to announce the recipients of this year’s Historic Preservation Awards to be presented at our Annual Program on November 9, 2011.
The President’s Award, which recognizes exceptional leadership and commitment to preservation, will be awarded to the Azola Companies for their numerous restoration and adaptive re-use projects. The Society for the Preservation of Fell’s Point and Federal Hill will receive the Stewardship Award for their commendable care of historic Fell’s Point properties. This year’s Volunteer Award will be presented to J.O.K. Walsh for his research, documentation, and preservation of historic properties on the Eastern Shore and the Phoenix Award will recognize the Frederick Visitor Center as an excellent example of community revitalization through historic preservation.
Individuals, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and government agencies are eligible to receive Preservation Maryland’s Historic Preservation Awards which are presented at our November Annual Program. Please start to think about potential nominees for our 2012 Awards. Click here to learn more about the program and access a nomination form.
Thanks to all who nominated people, places and projects that have been and are making a difference in the preservation of our state’s history. Please plan to join us torecognize these worthy Award winners at our Annual Program on November 9th at the Maryland Club in Baltimore. Please contact me if you have any questions about Preservation Maryland’s Awards Program at 410-685-2886, x. 303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to all of Preservation Maryland’s 2011 Historic Preservation Award Winners!
Preservation Services Director
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has initiated a dramatic reorganization under its new President Stephanie Meeks. Called Preservation 10X, it was conceived by the leadership of the National Trust and intended to enable the organization to have “10 times the impact and 10 times the reach.” It’s an ambitious goal, but is it realistic and how will it work?
Budget and capacity constraints are driving the changes. However, I have concerns about the initiative and its impact on the Statewide and Local Partners like Preservation Maryland, both as a group and individually, and the future of the preservation movement. I am particularly concerned about its signature program called National Treasures, both its name and limited scope, which will focus the Trust placed-based preservation efforts on just 100 nationally significant sites yet to be determined and expected to evolve.
As a Statewide Partner, Preservation Maryland has been closely involved with the Trust and has supported it as the national leader of the preservation movement. Like many Partners we want to better understand the basis for Preservation 10x and its impact on our work and the preservation movement. We have requested information about the Trust’s financial situation and the internal analysis of its existing programs, along with the results of the Trust’s recent national survey of it members.
I’m sure Preservation 10X will be a topic of discussion at the upcoming National Preservation Conference in Buffalo, given the questions and concerns that have been raised by Trust’s Partner organizations. In response, the staff of the Trust will be develop a fact sheet and FAQ’s on how Preservation 10X will specifically affect the Statewide and Local Partners program and its work of individual members organizations such as Preservation Maryland. Most importantly, clarification is needed on how the Trust will assist Partner organizations with threatened historic sites in their states or towns that aren’t one of the 100 National Treasures.
Historic preservationists talk a lot about stewardship. In fact, stewardship could be a synonym for our work: ensuring that treasured resources that are part of our lives remain for future generations. If you want to see one superlative example of stewardship, join us on Sunday, October 9 at Wye House Farm.
Thanks to the Tilghman family, descendants of the Lloyds who created and have loved Wye House Farm for 11 generations, Preservation Maryland’s “family” is invited to tour the house and grounds and enjoy an afternoon at their home — all to help ensure that our work in the Eastern Shore’s nine counties will continue. Sure, there will be tasty food – oysters and barbecue – and Maryland-produced wines and beers and Bluegrass music by – who else –The Shoremen. But, to me, the best reason to attend is to witness first hand what one family, through its determination and sacrifice, over more than 300 years (the earliest grave in the cemetery is dated 1684) has created and preserved. Few other American properties have that sort of uninterrupted chain of ownership.
Just as remarkable is that it is common practice for the Tilghman family to share its meticulously maintained treasure with hundreds of people each year. Besides, welcoming guests on a regular basis, the property is offered to numerous non-profit organizations for events that further their missions and share the history, beauty and serenity of Wye House Farm with appreciative audiences. Preservation Maryland is a frequent beneficiary of the Tilghman family’s generosity, having held several previous events there. Our relationship with the Tilghmans goes back to the previous generation when in 1952 an easement on the cemetery was given to Preservation Maryland. This tie was strengthened in 1979, when the owners donated an easement on the orangery, considered to be the most complete surviving example of an 18th century orangery in America. There are other outbuildings and formal gardens, all set along a breathtaking expanse of the Wye River. The property is also associated with Frederick Douglass who lived there briefly as a child.
Though they are the finest stewards of Wye House Farm, as generous donors to our Eastern Shore Field Office, the Tilghman family is also committed to preserving the enormous variety of historic resources of the Eastern Shore. We at Preservation Maryland count them among our best friends. Join us Sunday, and you’ll understand why. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.